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Millennials In The Workplace

Adam was a communications executive with 7 years core work experience spanning from media relations, public relations, social media marketing and digital branding. He started his career in the financial sector and enjoyed the freedom to express himself creatively.
Seven years gone and Adam wanted MORE. He wanted to do something different in a new sector. As a headhunter, I was looking for an Adam. Following my clients brief, I was searching for a candidate who was very creative, one who could think out of the box, step out of comfort zone, and make the brand very friendly to a younger generation. They wanted a Millenial.
Adam was very thrilled with the job role and happily sent his resume to me for his application. My client on the other side was very happy to work with him. They enjoyed his interview session and in their words to me, ‘This is the exact guy we have been looking for’.
Three months later, Adam resigned.
A huge shock to the organisation, but not a shock to me at all. You see, my client although in the finance sector was a very laid back organisation. They desired to be seen otherwise but were not willing to make such changes. They were very conservative, plain and ‘mature’. Their operations were also very similar, so beyond the brand that existed, they had a similar organisational culture, very different from what Adam was used to. The organisation was rigid, with strict working hours, & dresscode and shyed away from being versatile.
Being a typical millennial, Adam wanted to spread his wings. He wanted to be very flexible both in working hours and with brand expression. He wanted an environment that will encourage his creativity. This was definitely not what he met on ground and the organisation was not willing to budge. My client wanted the talent, but were not interested in creating an environment for that talent to thrive.
Adam is just one of my many candidates with similar experience, who usually after trying to fit in with different organisations, get frustrated and opt to set up their own companies.
With my years of experience working with hiring managers, I have seen the frustrations on both sides- the hiring organisation and the candidate. Both right, but both misaligned. While organisations are focused on hiring talent with skills and qualifications that fit their vacancy, Millenials are looking for organisations that allow them to thrive without the ‘mean office rules’. Are organisations willing to make such compromises? Well not so much. This refusal to compromise by both parties has led to this constant battle, hence more millennials opting to create their own work culture within their own organisations.
I have since concluded that most organisations have to be more deliberate in acquiring staff whose skills and talent fit the culture of the hiring organisation. Most often than not, hiring managers focus on the skills that they need but forget to create a work environment that would allow those skill sets thrive. It is not alone to acquire talent, one must be effective in managing those talent as well, and that includes developing policies that are easily acceptable to this new generation of employees.
Hiring managers of today need to recognize the peculiarities of this new generation and rather than fight it, find a way to align it with their current organizational policies.

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